It seems as if change is the only constant in the big bad world of Facebook and yesterday saw the latest announcement from Mr Zuckerberg and his team. This announcement is the biggest change to the overall user experience since Facebook launched Timeline back in 2011 and this time it’s the News Feed.
After seeing previews of the new layout, generally we’re impressed – especially the new focus on imagery, which echoes the increasing popularity of visual platforms such as Pinterest, Instagram and Tumblr. The use of bigger images within the Facebook design follows these trends and makes sense, seeing as nearly 50% of stories in the news feed are images.
The new design has been created with mobile users in mind as more and more people access Facebook on mobile devices – something that has been seen across the board for all social media platforms and noted in our post on key mobile trends last week.
The other big change is the introduction of multiple feeds where users can segment posts to view friends only, images, videos or users they follow. This is the biggest challenge facing event marketers in terms of getting news feed visibility for their content.
So how do these changes impact the way you use Facebook as a marketing platform for your events? We’ve put our heads together and come up with a few points to watch out for:
Consider Your Audience
So many people jump on the social media bandwagon but take a moment to reflect on if this change actually has any impact for your event – are your audience native to Facebook?
If you’re organising a B2B event, then platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn are probably more worthy of your time but if your event is aimed at consumers, then it’s time to sit up and take notice of these changes.
Pew Internet just launched their latest research findings into the different demographics of various social media platforms – it’s well worth a read.
Making your content more visual is going to separate the winners from the losers with this latest batch of changes. With images and videos being given even more prominence in the News Feed, it makes sense to reassess how you’re sharing content.
A simple status update just won’t cut the mustard anymore so consider constructing your posts so they combine a status update, link and image so your hitting all the cornerstones. It’s time to get creative!
Mashable do a great job of this – they share an overview of the story with a link and a related image or video:
Segment Your Content
The arrival of multiple news feeds is the feature which has got marketers worried especially if the majority of users select the friends only feed – how will they grab their piece of News Feed real estate now?
The key is to create share-worthy content – if a fan shares your content, then it will be included within the feeds of their friends even if they do use this filter.
This change provides further motivation to really mix up the content you share – mix up videos, images and audio to make sure you get in front of your visitors in the lead up to the event and on the day.
Invest In Sponsored Stories
Marketers generally welcomed the introduction of sponsored stories in January 2011 as it provides a more engaging way to gain a presence within the News Feed of Facebook users. Sponsored stories will still have pride of place within the newly designed News Feed – especially those which feature images or videos so it’s well worth considering making the investment to ensure News Feed visibility.
It is well worth reading up on the guidelines for creating sponsored stories so you’re playing within the lines. You also need to consider how you are targeting your content whether that be by age, location, existing connections or interests.
Don’t Forget Event Pages
As we flagged up in our previous post on using social media to promote your event, brand page updates are increasingly filtered out of your fan’s news feeds but event page updates have much better visibility as well as notifications for attendees.
Consider creating a Facebook page for your event but don’t forget to set up a Facebook event and share your content through this channel too. This may become even more relevant for consumer events once we see if the ‘Buy Tickets’ feature will be officially rolled out.
So there you have it – our take on the latest changes to the News Feed and hopefully some useful suggestions on how best to leverage these changes for your next event.
The final question is when will these changes be rolled out? Well, as usual Facebook have been far from specific but you can join the waiting list in the meantime.
This post was written by Clemi Hardie, founder and MD of Noodle Live